This summer, Atlanta's historic Westside gained another community resource with the establishment of the Chick-fil-A Foundation Training Center at the new YMCA Leadership & Learning Center in Vine City.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation Training Center includes two training rooms, a computer lab, conference room and a gathering place for Westside workforce development initiatives. The training center will cater to over 4,000 local and regional YMCA staff members by providing development courses in early learning, afterschool care, health and wellness.
Additionally, the Chick-fil-A Foundation Training Center serves as a multi-purpose space for individuals and community groups to use as a resource for a variety of needs. Through partnerships with organizations like Westside Works and United Way, the YMCA offers a Child Development Associate (CDA) credentialing program. This certificate is required in order to work in the early learning space. Trainees attend program sessions twice a week to obtain their CDA certificate. To date, more than 50 individuals have completed the program, and the YMCA plans to train another 50 before the end of the year.
"On the Westside, not many spaces are open to the community for training programs like this," said Laura Khan, grants and capital campaigns development manager for YMCA Metropolitan Atlanta. " "We're meeting a big need in the Westside community by providing this space."
The Chick-fil-A Foundation Training Center was Phase II of the Metro Atlanta YMCA's Here for Good Capital Campaign. The overarching goal for the campaign was to make updates to facilities in underserved communities - yet it's gone above and beyond its original purpose. Phase I included moving the company's headquarters to its new home on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Morris Brown College. Not only does the 55,000-square-foot building serves as the administrative hub for Atlanta's oldest nonprofit, it's contributing to the educational and economic prosperity of the historic Westside.
"We're excited to see the impact of the Y continue to grow on the Westside of Atlanta and for other individuals to get to experience the community we know and love through this new training center," said Chick-fil-A Giving Leader Gloria Cox.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation Training Center may be the newest addition, but the YMCA has been making progress at the Westside location all summer. Last month, The Arthur M. Blank Early Learning Center at E.A. Ware opened its doors to children from Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill and other Westside neighborhoods. At the early learning center, the YMCA has been implementing its highly successful "Read Right from the Start" literacy program. This method of teaching aims to help educators approach language education in ways that connect with youngsters from lower income families, teaching reading skills and improving vocabulary.
The YMCA of Metro Atlanta plans to work with organizations such as Good Samaritan Health Center, Open Hand/Good Measure Meals, The Trust for Public Land and local colleges to continue its community-based education and wellness programs for youth and adults.